Folding technology is long-promised but slow to arrive. This kind of tri-fold hardware, though, might just be the how the sci-fi dream pans out over the next few years.

This prototype is put together by the Human Media Lab at Canada's Queen's University. It's a fully functional smartphone that uses three separate e-ink screens which snap together.

It's pretty neat, and seems particularly great for navigation (hey it feels a bit like a paper map to begin with, so that may be no surprise). In the example, the team behin dit show it bein gused for displaying driving directions over all of the screens, or folding the displays together to create a kind of Google Earth globe.

Not perhaps the most practical of design, but an interesting glimpse into what could be the near-future of foldable tech. [Media Labs via Engadget]